Canary Islands: Shapps gives update on possible green list additions

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Holidays to “green list” destinations may be back on, but for now, the list remains rather small – with just 12 countries so far. Though the Government has previously said they hope to take an “islands approach” to assessing destinations for travel, Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps has suggested may not always be possible.

When asked about whether or not the Canary, Balearic or Greek islands would be added to the “green list” soon, Mr Shapps said: “We will have to wait for the Joint BioSecurity centre to provide their readout on all of this.”

He continued: “We have always said in the past we have tried to assess islands separately.

“Whether that is possible or not isn’t just down to the level of infection on those islands, it’s also down to their ability to sequence the genomes that we know about, the variants or potential variants of concern on those islands as well.”

It comes following speculation the islands could be added to the “green list” from early June.

At the time of writing, Spain and Greece remain on the UK’s “amber” list for travel.

This means Britons will be required to take three pre- and post-departure COVID-19 tests, alongside quarantining for 10 days on their return to the UK.

Both Spain and Greece are currently allowing UK travellers to enter for leisure purposes.

Despite this, Mr Shapps said he could not provide any clarity on if or when the archipelagos would be given “green” status.

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“Not to disappoint you but the next review is the first week in June, so not very far away, and I’m afraid we will have to wait until then,” he said.

“Not least because I don’t have that information from the Joint Biosecurity Centre who are still carrying out that work to make sure it is as up-to-date as possible.”

While Greece is requiring either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to enter, as of May 24 Spain has allowed Britons to visit without any restrictions or requirements.

When the Spanish travel restrictions lifted on Monday, an estimated 100,000 Britons jetted off to the holiday hotspot.

Though it may seem tempting, the Prime Minister has warned Britons not to risk travelling to “amber” categorised countries.

Mr Johnson previously warned: “I think it’s very important for people to grasp what an amber list country is: it is not somewhere where you should be going on holiday, let me be very clear about that.

“And if people do go to an amber list country, they absolutely have to for some pressing family or urgent business reason, then please bear in mind that you will have to self-isolate, you’ll have to take tests and do your passenger locator form and all the rest of it.”

Yet, there is some hope for holidaymakers in the future.

Though Mr Shapps has said he is unable to confirm any “green list” changes at present, he did also suggest changes will be coming “soon”.

Mr Shapps told the Financial Times: “I don’t think people have a very long time to wait before other countries are able to join the green list.”

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland presented a gloomier outlook for the list, however.

He previously told Sky News it looks unlikely the top European tourist spots for British holidaymakers will make the green list in the next update.

Mr Buckland told Sky News: “It means more opportunities for holidaymakers, and the ease of transport that clearly makes a holiday a much more pleasant experience, so we’ll continue, where we see the evidence, to add countries.”

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